Monday, March 29, 2010

Daddy Long-Legs

"A classic you can read in a day" is the title of a review on Amazon. And so true to my own experience...

It is a Friday in summer of 1993. We are invited to my paternal grandparents'. We arrive around 10 am right after breakfast and are supposed to stay for the whole day, a long day as it usually is at their place. My youngest and fun aunt who still lives at home has just gotten engaged and is all lovey dovey with her fiance all the time, they either vanish outside or in her room not visible most of the day so it is really no more fun to spend a whole day there. But the new uncle-to-be, Mr Mohandes, arrives that day with a book: "Daddy Long-Legs" and is so positively advertising the book. Z, S, and I are fishy (he is always boastful about every thing that gets him engaged) but excited about this book which looks pretty old, from his library for sure. So the three of us sit in the living room by ourselves and start reading.
It is lunch time, as late as 2PM, which is used to be the case in their home. We are still reading. I suppose each is reading a chapter out loud and the other two are bent over the book on either side of the reader. We don't care about the lunch and just continue reading. And for sure we finish it in half a day.

Soon that year they started broadcasting the animation series with the same name and I remember it affected the whole high school girls. I guess everyone wished to have a daddy-long-legs!

Here is a short plot from Wikipedia:
"Jerusha Abbott was brought up at the John Grier Home, an old-fashioned orphanage. The children were wholly dependent on charity and had to wear other people's cast-off clothes. Jerusha's unusual first name was selected by the matron off a grave stone, while her surname was selected out of the phone book. At the age of 18, she has finished her education and is at loose ends, still working in the dormitories at the institution where she was brought up.

One day, after the asylum's trustees have made their monthly visit, Jerusha is informed by the asylum's dour matron that one of the trustees has offered to pay her way through college. He has spoken to her former teachers and thinks she has potential to become an excellent writer. He will pay her tuition and also give her a generous monthly allowance. Jerusha must write him a monthly letter, because he believes that letter-writing is important to the development of a writer. However, she will never know his identity; she must address the letters to Mr. John Smith, and he will never reply.

Jerusha catches a glimpse of the shadow of her benefactor from the back, and knows he is a tall long-legged man. Because of this, she jokingly calls him "Daddy Long-Legs." She attends a women's college, but the name and location are never identified; however, men from Princeton University are frequently mentioned as dates, so it is certainly on the East Coast. The college is almost certainly based on the author's alma mater, Vassar College, judging from college traditions mentioned. She illustrates her letters with childlike line drawings, also created by Jean Webster."

2 comments:

bahreinian said...

I remember that Friday afternoon with all the details you have mentioned...As a teenager I really enjoyed the story and now, as a young adult (!) I still like it.

I miss those happy days of being together, all 3 of us...and exploring the world together :)

Salma

midnight/... said...

aakh tell me about it Sali joon! Me too! So much! The three of us always together and never had any idea that one day we would be so afar from each other!

Memory can be bitter sweet. For now I try to focus on U of A and Soosan khaanoom :)) LOL